Don’t Waste a Workout

Sunday was a lovely afternoon.

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little restless because I have been used to spending all this quality time with the roommate and now he is TOO busy with work to hang out with me. I’ll admit I was spoiled. Since he’s been gone, living solo has made me a little restless…

I could either wander around the house looking for something to do or I could get out of the house and have a chance at not going crazy. So, I set out to go read my book by the pool.

Unfortunately, the pool was closed.

Not to be set off my course, I decided, “That’s fine. I’ll just walk down to the river and read my book there.” It’s a bit more of a walk and there are a few more people, but it was a really pretty day, so I didn’t mind.

East Falls

The unfortunate part about choosing to lay by the river rather than the pool is the number of tiny bugs that enjoy warm human flesh snacks in the afternoon. I did not enjoy being the “human,” so my time by the river was short lived.

I was walking home bummed out and thinking how much nicer it would have been to be in a pool instead of being eaten alive by fire ants when I noticed that, magically, the pool was now open! I threw off my cover up and jumped in with enthusiasm… ahem, I carefully lowered myself into the freezing cold pool and convinced myself I would enjoy it… eventually.

A new friend…

After about two laps, I heard someone calling my name behind me. It was Erin, a (beautiful and very fit) girl I knew from Crossfit. How perfect! A friend!

I got out of the pool and went to sit by her as she tanned. We talked literally for hours (perfect since I had nothing to do).

Being typical Crossfitters, we got onto the subject of working out. Both of us were acknowledging how frustrating it was to have people assume that we were working out to look a certain way. In truth, that is secondary and I would rather get less attention for my body rather than more. I work out because I LOVE working out. I also LOVE being part of a team. I LOVE competing. Part of this “love” entails getting stronger; and of course, protein powder.

Protein powder comes up when you talk about working out, too. Right?

Erin was saying that some girls who join Crossfit are scared to start looking more muscular, so they won’t do protein powder after a workout; but once they started adding it in – they made the body shift with no problem and learned to appreciate it.

This hit a little close to home for me, because I HAD been doing protein powder, but stopped when my silly roommate started teasing me about it.

It got me thinking – I wonder how many of my readers are wasting their workouts.

Girls with Muscle

Over and over, I find that my patients are missing basic foundational truths of life. Here is one of those missed simple truths: YOUR MUSCLES ARE YOUR BODY’S STORES OF PROTEIN.

Think of it like a bank. If you can build your muscles, then you have more in the bank for when you need it. You need protein (amino acids) to repair things and build new things in your body. It’s very important.

If you engage in RESISTANCE TRAINING and break down your muscle fibers, it is your responsibility to either…

  1. give you body some protein to help it rebuild, or
  2. force your body to break down other muscles to rebuild – essentially, rendering you the exact same as you were before.

Who would want to do all the work and end up the exact same as before?

Think about it… if you don’t let your body put on new muscle from your workouts, then you miss out on a lot! Muscle helps support your skeleton. People that are more fit don’t get hurt as easily. Muscle lets you move the things in life that need to be moved (this includes yourself, sometimes). Muscle helps you age well. Muscle speeds up your metabolism so that you can start eating more food and not run the risk of gaining weight.

It’s AWESOME.

Protein is key. It’s especially important if: 1) you’re older (>70) and wanting to maintain the muscle you have, 2) you’re sick and in the process of repairing your body, or 3) you’re working out and wanting to change your body composition through lifting weights.

FYI, You don’t have to use protein powder – there’s nothing magical about it. It’s just more convenient than cooking up 3-4 ounces of lean meat after each workout.

SIDE NOTE: It should make sense that meat consist of protein as you are essentially eating the muscle of another animal. It’s the quickest and most efficient way to get protein in your diet and it’s one of the major reasons I am not vegetarian.

In Summary: The Rules of Protein after a Resistance Workout

  1. 20-30 grams of protein should be fine for most people.
  2. Protein needs to be taken within an hour of finishing your workout.
  3. Don’t skip it. If you do, be prepared to not have the body change you were looking forward to

Alright, go forth. Make strong friends, lift heavy things, and eat/drink protein so your workouts count! And, enjoy that efficient metabolism that comes from putting on some muscle and burning fat.

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